John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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July 26th, 2006 by john andrews

I’m a technologist blogger writer artist Internet guy bum.

Since I re-started this blog under my own name I have been reading a few more blogs than usual. It dawns on me that this Internet thing that transformed our work environments, and transformed our careers, has simply removed inhibitions. The latent artists and writers that failed to “be themselves” but instead went onwards with school and traditional jobs, are finding their way (back) to their destinies via the web. Digital photography has helped them rationalize it as well.

You all best be careful, though, because that same society that didn’t pay artists nor writers will similarly attempt to enslave The Webologist.

I have always been a supporter of artists, emotionally and financially when possible. They are amazing. Like most normal people, I have artistic visions, yet lack the skills to express them. So when a free-thinking expressionist doesn’t say “look” and explain something in words, but rather looks away and starts to draw or sketch or paint, or simply goes away, coming back some time later to show me something he created that reflects the original ideas not-excessively-discussed, I think it’s cool.

Of course there are commercial artists. And technicians. And hopeless romantics. And talentless hacks. And gifted ones that self destruct, and not-so-gifted ones that self destruct. It’s funny just how many parallels there are between web thought pioneers and “traditional” artists.

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July 25th, 2006 by john andrews

Googbye WebmasterWorld

Many years ago when I was learning what the web was all about, I found WebmasterWorld. Like everyone else, I found it via the search engines. In fact, once Google was fully operational, I could ask it just about any HTTP question and Google would say “here’s what WebmasterWorld has on that”.

I lurked for years. I had little reason to participate – I needed to learn. And as I recall, it was all knowledge. The past handful of years I participated with a handle. It was fun. And then everybody started to leave.
I ran a BBS back in the 80’s; I knew what a noob was and I knew what a dork was and what a flame war was. I knew what it was like to battle an attack, and recover a bbs from disaster (Mustang was very vulnerable, and SearchLight instilled false confidence with it’s security through obscurity in the beginning). “How about a big cup of STFU” is so funny because it is so true. (boy’s link | girl’s link)
These days I think WebmasterWorld needs to start serving STFU instead of bad hotel coffee. If you don’t have something meaningful to say, why clutter up the thread with your nonsense? Ummm..maybe because it makes for more page views :-)

Mind you snide remarks that make valid points are good content. So are quips like “I doubt it” when they come from people who obviously know the topic. You can learn from these, quickly and efficiently. Just imagine a high quality thread by 4 experts, who have demonstrated their worth already, when they answer a noobie queston about Google:

NewbiewanCanole: I want to put two title tags on my page, to increase my rank in Google. I saw it works. Is this a good idea?

Expert#1: no.

Expert#2: nope.

Expert#3: no.

Expert#4. No, that won’t thelp you.

Now , that same imaginary thread on Today’s WebmasterWorld would look like this:

WordManLuvvaSEO: The secret to rank is two title tags. I rank #1 everywhere, and that’s how I did it.

Expert#1:

SEOSEOSEO_wnanaBEE_SEO: No way. That can’t work. There’s no way, I don’t think. Did you also put h6 tags? Maybe if you also put h6 tags. Did any body try two title tags *and* h6 tags? I could try it, but my site is down right now. AdSense sux. Well, lemme know if you try.

Expert#2:

AsiaForSEOs: I’ve had two title tags for years, by accident, and I am very glad I just noticed and removed it because I am pretty sure it is against the Google TOS and there’s no sense in risking a ban. But I can assure you, it doesn’t work.

Expert#3:

Non-SEO-PhD: In my view, blah blah blah blah blah…

New Jersey SEO: Well, duh you could just try it yourself. Or Google it. Duh.

WordManLuvvaSEO: Well it works for me so I’m sticking with it. That h6 tag sounds great. Can anybody help me with that? Is it 6 h1 tags, or is there an h6 tag? I never used anything beyond h4 tags yet (I am only doing SEO for 2 months).

Expert opinions are not the only things gone from WebmasterWorld. Gone are the days of debate and inquiry. Gone are the dissenting opinions, the challenged authority, and the meaningful content. Of course, that’s just my opinion.
So it’s goodbye WebmasterWorld for me. Time to change the password to some random keyboard leaning and forget about it. Will it oneday become the world’s largest MFA?

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July 24th, 2006 by john andrews

Graywolf has been drinking the IncrediBill coolaid

“412: Precondition Failed”

We’re sorry, but we could not fulfill your request for / on this server. We have established rules for access to this server, and any person or robot that violates these rules will be unable to access this site.

Oops. It appears I have pissed off GrayWolf’s server. Or he’s been drinking the IncrediBill Coolaide and installed anticrawl on his blog. That’s really too bad, because he just IP blocked a whole helluvalot of people on the t-mobile Starbucks network.

I make no apologies. Yes, I had my referrer spoofing Googlebot. I forgot to set it back; so sue me. But is that really a good enough reason to IP block all the innocent Starbucks customers? I’m going to guess it was a lack of checking robots.txt while appearing to be a bot. Violated his “MUST NOT pretend to be a robot” regulation. Ah well.

I saw a Squidoo comment in the Google SERPs, and hopped on over to read it. Alas, no more wolf-howl for now. I wonder how long we’ll be blocked? I mean, they’ll be blocked. I’ll just hop over to one of my proxies, but I am pretty sure the rest of the Starbuckers won’t be so well equipped. What will they do when the follow what looked like a good snippet in Google, only to get this 412 message? They will bail. Ferr sherr.

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